An endocervical polyp is a type of growth that appears in the neck of a woman’s uterus, which is called the cervix. Polyps are often red, purplish, or grayish in color and can be various sizes, though they are usually small. A woman can have a single endocervical polyp or a group of them. They are usually not cancerous and may not even cause symptoms. To be sure they aren’t cancerous, however, doctors often recommend that women have them biopsied, which means examined for cancerous cells.
Endocervical polyps form from glands of a woman’s cervix. These polyps often occur in women who are at least 20 years old but have yet to reach menopause. Ectocervical polyps, which form from the cervix’s outer layer, are usually more common in women who have been through menopause. These polyps occur only rarely in girls who haven’t had their first menstrual period and are more likely to develop in women who have given birth to children.
A woman can have an endocervical polyp without having any symptoms. In some cases, however, a woman may note such symptoms as a smelly discharge, abnormal discharge without a foul smell, bleeding between menstrual periods, and bleeding after sex. Some women with these polyps may even have heavier periods as a symptom of the growth. When women do not have symptoms, the polyps may be discovered during routine gynecological examinations.
Usually, an endocervical polyp isn’t harmful to a woman’s health, and if it doesn't cause symptoms, there may be no reason to treat it. Often, however, doctors think it best to remove this type of polyp so it can be checked for the presence of cancerous cells. Sometimes an endocervical polyp will even come off on its own. For example, it may simply fall off during intercourse or while a woman is having a menstrual period.
If an endocervical polyp is small, doctors can usually remove it in a medical office rather than having the patient check into a hospital. In such a case, a surgical instrument is typically used to grab the polyp and pluck or twist it off the cervix. If the polyp is large or very wide, however, doctors may need to remove it in an operating room. In such a case, the area may be numbed with local anesthesia or the patient may be given general anesthesia to put her to sleep for the procedure.